Technology combines the Greek roots tekhn_ē, which entails making—as in art, skill, and craft—and _logia, the speaking or telling. Historically, technology has had a range of meanings, referring variously, according to the OED, to “a discourse on an art or arts,” “the scientific study of the industrial or practical arts,” “a branch of knowledge dealing with the mechanical arts and applied sciences,” “the application of such knowledge for practical purposes,” and “the product of such application.” While contemporary usage often orients us toward thinking about specific objects, the roots of the term highlight the ways in which technology not only is an object for use but also partly defines and constitutes the practices that rely on the objects we typically identify as pieces of technology.

This essay may be found on page 201 of the printed volume.

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